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Between the ages of 6 to 10 months, your baby’s first teeth will begin to surface. By the time he is three years of age, all 20 baby teeth will likely be fully present, although the age at which each appear can vary slightly. It is important to have your child’s baby teeth maintained and well cared for by a dental professional, as well as to develop a healthy oral hygiene routine at home that will stick with your child for a lifetime.
Since your child will eventually lose his baby teeth, some parents may feel that caring for them is not as important as taking care of permanent teeth. However, this is not the case for a few reasons. Below we will discuss why caring for baby teeth is vital, how you can help prepare your child for his first dental checkup, various pediatric dental treatments that are available, and some basic oral health tips designed with children in mind. When in need of pediatric dentistry Houston, our offices can assist you with all of your child’s dental needs.
Why Care For Baby Teeth
Even though they eventually fall out, your child’s baby teeth serve very important functions while they are present. Baby teeth are absolutely vital for the following reasons:
* As your child begins to eat solid food, baby teeth are needed for proper biting and chewing that aid in the digestive process.
* Baby teeth serve as a guide for permanent teeth to come into their proper positions with the appropriate amount of spacing required.
* Baby teeth actually help your child learn to speak properly and teach proper movement of the tongue and facial muscles that allow for clear speech.
* Baby teeth help the jaw bone, jaw muscles and facial muscles develop appropriately to allow for a healthy mouth into adulthood.
Preparing Your Child for His First Dental Checkup
It’s not uncommon for children to be skeptical or downright fearful about visiting the dentist. It’s a strange place full of people he doesn’t know with sometimes frightening looking equipment and tools. It’s no wonder that he is fearful of allowing another adult to look inside his mouth in these circumstances. However, as a parent there are several things you can do to make this process easier for your child.
* Try to schedule your child’s appointment at a time when he is in a good mood and is feeling energized. Try to avoid times when he would normally be napping or snacking.
* Speak in a positive and excited manner about the prospect of visiting the dentist. Let your child know that you also visit a dentist regularly, and avoid the mention of pain or discomfort. Speaking of the experience in a joyful and positive way can help your child associate a dental visit with these positive emotions and feelings.
* Be sure to listen to your child’s fears if he expresses any and talk to him about his feelings. Your dentist may even allow you to demonstrate for your child by sitting in the chair first and showing your child directly that a dental checkup doesn’t hurt. This can do much to calm his fears and make him feel more at ease.
Pediatric Dental Treatments
Unfortunately, baby teeth are subject to decay, infection, and other problems the same way that adult teeth are. This means that sometimes pediatric dental treatments are needed. These treatments can include the following things.
* Filling cavities – Tooth decay can occur, especially if babies fall asleep at night with a bottle of milk. This early decay is sometimes referred to as bottle rot, because as the milk pools around the teeth, the natural sugars within the milk can create cavities over a period of time. This decay can advance quickly and needs to be promptly taken care of to prevent further complications.
* Extractions – At times it is necessary to extract a baby tooth to allow for the removal of a badly decayed tooth that cannot be repaired or to help underlying permanent teeth come in properly.
* Dental cleanings and fluoride treatments – It is important that your child’s baby teeth are properly and professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Fluoride treatments can also help strengthen teeth and protect them from decay.
* Early Orthodontic Care – Many children eventually need braces or other orthodontic treatments. Catching these issues early can result in a shorter and less costly treatment plan for your child.
Oral Health Tips for Children
Good oral health routines should ideally start in infancy and be maintained through the toddler years and well into adulthood. These tips are a great place to start in teaching your child to maintain a good oral health routine.
* Start with a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables protect from tooth decay while the over consumption of fruit juices, candy, and other sugary treats promote decay and the development of cavities.
* Enforce proper brushing and flossing techniques. Teach your child to brush and floss after each meal and before going to sleep at night. These are habits that will promote ideal oral health for a lifetime.
* Bring your child in to his pediatric dentist on a regular basis for checkups, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and the prompt correction of any issues as they arise.
We know that your child’s dental health is important to you and that you want him to have the best start in life. If you are in need of Pediatric dentistry Houston, contact our office to schedule an appointment for your child today and start them on the road to a healthy mouth for life.